Children Accused In Church Vandalism - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/11/06-Longview

Children Accused In Church Vandalism

The tiny 135-year-old Spring Hill Church in Pittsburg was the target of spray-painting graffiti that took place last week. The incident shocked church members.

"I just thought it was a disgrace why somebody would think to do something like this," said longtime church member Marlene Woods.

Witnesses saw two children running away from the church. Shortly thereafter, the racial slurs and graffiti were found on the outside walls.  "Who would take time out, to come and do something like this. It just hurts deep inside," said area resident Randy Woods.

Later authorities arrested two area children, a 15-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. What upsets church members most about this is not that it was allegedly done by children, but that they had to get the idea from somebody.  "Well, I felt bad I felt like somebody hadn't been teaching their children," Marlene says.

The vulgar messages even contained gang signs. The recent burning of Alabama churches had some worried that the past is repeating itself in the form of racism. Some want to talk to the children, and tell them one thing.

"I'll ask them, 'Do you know whose house this is? This is the house of the lord,'" says Marlene.

Defacing a place of worship is a state jail felony. The children were released to the custody of guardians and will probably be made to make restitution to the church.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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